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A weekend of tastes

March 30th, 2009

The book I used solely

The book I used solely

In my life as a store owner, I’m usually pretty busy – my staff and husband might say that’s an understatement! This weekend was exceptionally busy.  Besides working at the store…

Friday night I had the honor of being the wine pro at a friend’s wine tasting of South American wines.  The hostess bought the wine from the store, made all the food and we paired different Chilean and Argentinian wines.  The favorites?  The Terra Andina Reserve Chardonnay ($12.25) was tops on many palates in the white category, and the Ben Marco Malbec ($23.75) from Mendoza, Argentina displayed beautifully!  If you haven’t tried these two shelf selections, I encourage you to do so!

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Saturday night was a charity dinner for eight at our house – an annual event for the highest bidder at our church’s auction.  This year the theme was Italian, therefore my/our job was to create a 7 course meal, pair it with wines and serve it.

Being the kamikaze cook that I am, I pulled Maxine Clark’s Italian Kitchen book from the newest cookbooks at the store and pored over it, selecting every one of my recipes for this dinner from it.  Then in true Amy style, I didn’t test any recipes, yes, I made them all for the first time for the dinner.  It’s interesting the reactions I get from people when I tell them I trust recipes and make them for eight hungry guests without knowing exactly how it will come out.

Somehow this doesn’t scare me much.  I did sort of end up ruining the soup; instead of a creamy spinach, egg & cheese soup, we heated the broth too much and though we were cautious about our addition of the egg, it didn’t work out well.  Yes, it curdled.  In fact, we renamed it Italian Egg Drop Soup.  It didn’t taste bad, it just wasn’t creamy and perfect.

Besides that and the smoking of grill pan of eggplant (loaded with olive oil, lemon & mint) the dinner was awesome and featured the book’s Grandmother Cake for dessert.  Our favorite recipe from the book was entitled “Warm Lentil, Mushroom, Tomato & Arugula Salad”…you should try it with the Maculan Pinot & Toi ($15.50) white wine.

Finally, the winning wine of the night? Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico 2001, ($28.50) straight from the hills of Tuscany and beautifully aged for the last 8 years!  Steve and I visited the winery last year and their wines are awesome anyway, however, this vintage of this wine – a 2001! – at this moment in time is stunning and perfect.  I didn’t get a chance to sip & enjoy like I should have, so sometime soon I’ll make a point to get another bottle to linger over!

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I decided to take a little time to relax on Sunday and I had some other amazing tastes from our friends over at the Electric Cheetah, the soon to open bistro on Wealthy.  Cory, the owner, arranged a 12 hour marathon Puzzle Bee to take place yesterday in order to ‘wallpaper’ the bathroom with various puzzles.  There had to be around 100 puzzlers there throughout the day making puzzles of choice.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting in touch with my puzzling side once again and I enjoyed trying Cory’s creations from the kitchen throughout the day.  My favorite? I give the veggie breakfast burrito two thumbs up!

Always so many great things to taste -

Amy

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